From My Carolina Home

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Frozen Waterfalls

The deep freeze across the east has lasted long enough for some of the local waterfalls and even parts of the French Broad River to freeze.   This doesn’t happen every year, we need sustained weeks of sub-freezing temperatures for the ice to form around running water.  It was 27 degrees F (-2C) last weekend when we decided to take a hike and see some of them.  Yes, we are a bit nuts to hike in this cold, but the skies were mainly clear, the wind was very light and the hikes were short.  Bundling up in coats, hats, scarves, gloves, jeans and our hiking boots, we drove out to DuPont State Forest to see the first two.  The parking lot was mainly empty, of course.  Only the truly crazy go hiking now.  But there were a few other intrepid souls who wanted to appreciate the beauty of the white ice sculptured by nature. We headed out on the bridge over a partially frozen stream.

Winter in State Forests of Western NC at From My Carolina Home

The half mile hike wasn’t too bad in the cold, only one really steep section.

Winter in State Forests of Western NC at From My Carolina Home

Coming up the hill, Triple Falls can be seen in the distance.

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Getting a bit closer, all of that white that looks like froth is actually solid ice.

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Look to the left of the upper falls, see the icicles?

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

There is still some water flowing, but most of the falls is frozen in time.

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Back across the bridge and a short 1/4-mile hike later, we came to Hooker Falls.  This one is not tall but really wide.  The very middle is still flowing, but both sides are frozen solid.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

DH took this picture across the face of the falls, the ice is pretty thick!

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Gorgeous, isn’t it?  The entire left side still looks like flowing water even though it is frozen stillness.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

As usual for me, I notice the details like the crystals and air bubbles under the surface here at the water’s edge.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

The fractured pattern is interesting.  Along the right lower edge of the picture below is a gentle rippling over a rock, amazingly still moving ever so slightly.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Downstream from Hooker Falls, lovely contrast between the dark rocks and the light ice.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

The next day, we drove out to Pisgah Forest and all along the road were scenes like this, icicles from the watershed forming on the rock faces.

Winter in State Forests of Western NC at From My Carolina Home

The prisms of light inside the icicles were really lovely, but the camera couldn’t see them.


In warmer weather, these sections have dripping water.


We drove to Looking Glass Falls, also a winter wonderland.  It looks like a frothy falls, but in actuality, is frozen ice.  I usually try to get pictures without people in them, but this one gives you a better idea of the majesty and height of this waterfall and the stone canyon.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

A little zoom in, look at the frost in the trees on the left, and over the rock face on the right, all formed from the spray from the falls.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

Several minutes later to walk down the icy stairs, where the temperature dropped another 10 degrees, and the falls still look exactly the same.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

Frost covered the lower rocks next to the solid ice lagoon, with icicles hanging from the ledges.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

The ice was inches thick, beautiful but dangerous.  The ice wouldn’t support the weight of a person.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

Downstream from Looking Glass Falls, there is a trickle still moving in the very center.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

For my northern hemisphere readers, is it frozen where you are?  Southern hemisphere readers, do you have scenes like this near you in winter?

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at



March in the Garden

It is still looking more like spring than winter here, and amazingly the flowers are coming into bloom.  I am so afraid that our Blackberry Winter will nip all these flowers. Blackberry Winter is what we locals call a cold snap, and often a freeze, right when the blackberry bushes begin blooming – usually early April. Recently, I went to the Biltmore House, and showed some of the wonderful costumes in their Designed for Drama exhibit. While we were there, we did some walking around the gardens. Normally there would not be anything blooming in February, but due to the early warmth, lots of flowers are coming out too soon. All around are Bradford Pear trees and Golden Forsythia starting to put on a show. The cherry trees are starting to bloom with their delicate pink blossoms.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Little clumps of daffodils are popping up here and there.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Believe it or not, these are azaleas! They shouldn’t be in bloom for two more months.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This beauty is a variety of crocus dwarf iris?  There were several beds of these guys around Antler Village at the Biltmore Estate.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

One thing I appreciate about winter is the architecture of the bare limbs of plants and trees. This gorgeous thing is a giant wisteria vine along an arbor leading into the Biltmore Gardens, likely close to 100 years old. It covers this arbor, and is stunning in spring.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This is a Japanese cutleaf maple, wonderful twisted trunk and branches, almost resembles a giant bonsai. In spring, this will be covered in red leaves.  There is such grace in this form.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Just down the path from the arbor is this spray of white flowers covering several bushes. I didn’t get the marker for what they are.  But I know they shouldn’t be blooming yet.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Back at home, the seedling are starting to put up small leaves. I need to replant some of them a bit deeper.

March Garden at From My Carolina Home

The best part of February was the progress on the amaryllis. The bud came out in mid-February, with 2 blooms. Previously the flower spike had four, so I need to repot it this year. It must need more nutrients than I can give it with just fertilizer, and needs new soil. Excruciatingly slow, it took four days to get partially open.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Then one flower opened fully, beautiful dark red. The other followed a few days later.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Both flowers fully opened, just lovely. I moved it out of the kitchen over to the pub table to protect it from damage.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

The bad news was there was going to be a major thunderstorm with possible hail on Wednesday night, then below freezing temperatures for three nights beginning Thursday night.  As I raced home from BOM club and errands on Wednesday trying to beat the rain, I found this when I got home.

Hyacinths 2

The hyacinth bulb I planted last year has come up and begun blooming. I knew the freeze would kill it, do I dug it up and put it in a pot in the Carolina room out back.  Then, looking at the flower beds truly for the first time in a few weeks, I was not pleased to see all this growth, in every bed! All three iris beds, the tulips, and the gladiolas are all coming up!


I needed to get them all covered before the rain hit, just in case there was hail. Plus, they need to be protected from the mid-20s overnight temperatures we will have for three nights. Racing against the oncoming storm, I managed to get them all covered with sheets or fabric, weighed down with lattice bits, extra pots and gutter remnants. The forecast for Saturday night is 24 degrees, a hard freeze.

Covered bulbs

As I went to the veranda for extra pots to use, I found the jump-ups were already in full swing, and blooming! So I picked up that pot and put it in the Carolina room too.

Jump ups on veranda

As I worked, I also saw that the bargain snapdragons that I got for less than a dollar made it through the winter and are growing.  They have doubled in size from the original plantings. They got covered too.


The planter box was covered as well with a piece of lattice and a drop cloth. I just hope that there isn’t a lot of wind, and that the covers all stay in place for the next couple of days.  There are daylilies and irises here.

Iris bed raised

I’ll have more gardening chores to do this month.  Transplanting the seedlings to set them lower in the dirt (which encourages stronger root growth according to my gardening book)  and thinning them out will best be done between the 5th and the 12th when the moon is waxing.  A PBS show on NC gardening has given me a couple of good ideas for new plants for the garden this year, so I will try to find these in my local garden centers – variegated weigela and red salvia.   I need to order my torenias too, the garden center grows them, and sets aside a flat for me each year.  Still keeping in mind that the last frost date for here is April 15, planting outside will have to wait in spite of this warm beginning.  I just hope that the freezing temperatures overnight and over the weekend don’t damage the local apple crop, or my bulbs.

Are you doing any garden chores or planning?  Or are you enjoying the last of summer in the southern hemisphere?



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January in the Garden

January means little to do in the garden outside, but there are plenty of things to do inside.  I am my annual mode of reading my new Farmer’s Almanac, perusing the seed catalogs, and scrounging for gardening magazines at the thrift stores and library magazine exchange.  I already repotted my orchid, and I have needed to repot the African violets for some time. I actually did repot them in larger pots some time ago, but never could find another tray to put them on for watering. So, I put them back in the smaller pots, just a bit deeper and left them for the last year. Now they really are getting so big that I need to do something.  They put on a huge growth spurt after being outside in the warm summer and fall months.  Even now, they are putting out little leaves and still going.

Repotting Violets

While I was out in the thrift stores, I looked for a larger tray that both could sit on, but didn’t find anything. When I came across these deep glass dishes, I figured they could just each have their own.  The moon is full right now, and the warm temperatures this past week made it a perfect time to do a bit of digging in the dirt. I found two pots in the garage, larger than their current pots, and should do nicely for some time to come.

Repotting Violets

You can see under this one how much it has grown, all that stem will produce roots if I plant it deeper than it was before.

Repotting Violets

I did my coffee filter trick in the bottom of the pots too, keeps the dirt in while allowing the water to drain out. I water violets from the bottom, but proper drainage is still important.

Repotting Violets

Back in the house with their new pots, joining the rest of my little indoor garden on the pie safe in the kitchen.

Repotting Violets

I am thrilled that the amaryllis is putting out leaves once again!  This will be the fourth year it has grown and I am of course hoping for a beautiful display of the deep red flowers. It started like this, just a peek of a leaf, making me smile.

Amaryllis 2017

Then a week later it had two leaves.  I gave it a diluted feeding hoping that it has all the nutrients it needs to bloom.

Amaryllis January

Now it has three leaves and the flower bud is showing! The growth is excruciatingly slow, it has taken three weeks to get to this point. But it has been worth the wait every year.

Amaryllis flower bud

We had more visitors in January too, these deer came by before the snow.

Deer visit 3

And a group of Northern Flickers made a stop.

Northern Flicker 2

Thought you’d like to see the dawn view of clouds coming in before the snow. This is the mountain view to the east.

January Dawn 1

And this was over the valley the same morning.

January Dawn 4

I found these interesting wood branches with lichen in the driveway. They fell out of one of the trees that line the paved area. I have to think of something neat to do with them.

Lichen 1

DH put up a grow light for me in the basement workshop, and donated a bit of his workbench space for my annual seed planting fever. He put the light on a timer so I won’t have to remember to turn it on and off, and put a grow bulb in it that glows pink. I am fairly confident that with adequate light, the seeds will do better this year. I am planning get some herbs started soon, and a few other veggies a bit later. I’ll show you that in February.

Just to let you know what will happen in the next few days, tomorrow will begin a neat blog hop which I hope you all will enjoy.  That post will remain the latest one for four days while I have oral surgery again, hopefully the last time.  The previous one really knocked me down for several days, so this hop comes at a good time.  You can come back each day to visit the links to the posts for that day, plus there will be a giveaway to keep the interest up.  I’ll be back on Friday with the giveaway winner.  I may not be answering comments for those days, depends on how many there are and how I feel.  I expect to be parked in front of Netflix for several days while DH makes me soup.  I’ll be looking at my seed catalogs too.

Are you gardening or thinking about your garden?


Winter White

Now that the holidays are truly over, I like to create a cleaner space after the clutter of the autumn season followed by Christmas.  For me, going to to an all white decor is a rest for the eyes before getting to the rich Valentine reds  and Mardi Gras colors of February. The snow over the weekend helped set the mood too, and our pub table is now decked out in all white.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

I found these darling little mitten ornaments with snowflakes at the thrift store, and they had four! So, of course they become napkin ring ornaments.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

The placemats are my vintage Battenberg lace ones, with the white French Country dinnerware. I added a little white sauce dish at the top. It can hold some teriyaki or horseradish sauce for a pork roast dinner.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

In the center, a white rabbit planter holds the white poinsettia from the holidays. It is still growing, and I turned the silver side of the wrapper out.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

On either side are white pillar candles in the cut glass holders I’ve had for many years. I found the white iridescent beads at the thrift store too, and lay them around the center for a bit of sparkle.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

Another thrift store find, this little snowflake candle holder is a perfect addition to the other side of the centerpiece.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

Here’s a wider view of the whole table.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

White is the theme all through the house, with this display on the kitchen counter. The white colander holds a new white candle in a lovely scent called Winter Garden. The white salt and pepper are within easy grasp sitting on a lace placemat.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

In the den, I put the White Mini Quilt on the stand, adding white candles on the side. My white reindeer stays out all winter, and this year he sits regally near the quilt. The little pine cone next to him is a candle with glitter, too pretty to burn.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

In a corner, the antique table usually holds a quilt, but for January it displays another Battenburg runner.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

On the coffee table, I placed the Snowflake runner from last year, with a Fenton candy dish, my depression glass American potpourri dish, and a book of Andrew Wyeth art. The cover shot is one of my all time favorite paintings.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

Outside, the snow filled up the feeder Saturday morning so the birds were having a hard time. It was dark and the snow was still falling when I got up Saturday.

January Snow 2017 2

You can see on the top of the feeder how many inches we got, which is on the driveway too.

January Snow 2017 4

The blue jay managed to unhook the suet feeder from the clip, not on purpose, and it plopped into the snow. When DH saw that, he put on earmuffs, gloves, heavy coat and Wellies and got out the ladder to fix it.

January Snow 2017 7

He brushed all the snow out of the feeder, and replaced the suet feeder. I scattered some seed on the ground for the ground feeder birds and we went back in to watch. Very shortly, the cardinal landed for a bite, while a woodpecker went for the suet.

January Snow 2017 9

A titmouse on the feeder,

January Snow 2017 12

and juncos on the ground.

January Snow 2017 10

Everybody that wanted a meal got some food.

January Snow 2017 14

Later in the day, the sun came out. It was a beautiful clear blue sky.

January Snow 2017 17

Just look at the icicles on the roof!

January Snow 2017 19

Then, on Sunday, the boys were back for another handout. One was really strutting his stuff, cluck-purring and fanning his tail.  He was really preening for a tidbit.

Turkeys in the Snow 4

DH thought I’d lost my mind as I made them a peanut butter sandwich and fed it to them in small bites thrown onto the snow. They need the extra protein and calories when it is only 27 degrees outside.

Turkeys in the Snow 6

I’m still not going anywhere soon. The driveway is still several inches deep in snow.  Hopefully the sun will melt it before Wednesday as I have two meetings that day!

Turkeys in the Snow 5

In the meantime, I’ll be sewing and crafting!

What’s going on where you live?  Do you enjoy Winter White?



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Winter Projects

We had our first snow of the season beginning Friday afternoon.  It started earlier than expected, and I was happy to get my appointments done, attend a memorial service, and get DH from the airport before the road froze.  After we were home for half an hour or so, I saw that the turkeys were back again!  I was delighted as I have missed seeing them. I counted at least nine, and maybe more in the woods. They were in the meadow, and weren’t moving around much. Of course, I couldn’t resist seeing if the two males would come when called.  The snow was falling in fat flakes drifting down.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

I wish I had brought out the camera fully booted up and ready as I missed getting the two of them running toward me. They made a bee line for me as soon as they saw me and heard me call to them. I had the bread ready, but not the camera. It was funny to see them come straight at me at a dead run! The rest of the birds stayed in the meadow and watched, no one else was willing to take a chance, so these two got all the treats.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

They made their purring and clucking sounds while I fed them several pieces of bread.  I think I should give them names, don’t you?  Maybe Bert and Ernie?  or Butch and Sundance?  Any suggestions?

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

It was blasted cold, around 27 degrees with snow still falling. And they just kept making circles and purring, so of course I had to give them another slice. Next time, I think I’ll put some peanut butter on the bread to give them some extra protein and calories against the cold.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

The larger male does get very colorful as his head become more blue and the wattles get red as he struts around. I do think he is preening to get more goodies. It works too.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

Last night, it was really coming down hard with blustery wind.

January snow Friday night2

Now that it is white outside, I want to show you some white inside. While putting away the holiday decorations, DH found a wreath in the garage that I forgot I even had!  Well, the ribbon was crushed and certainly the red flowers were needing a lift.

Wreath Winter White 1

So, I decided to rework it completely for a winter wreath. I am in the mood this month for white, as I usually do in January. White decor and cleaning up the clutter is like a refreshing break from the frenzy of the holidays. I pulled off all the elements, and then cleaned up the excess glue on the wreath.

Wreath Winter White 2

I know I have shown you how to make a bow before. This time I centered it at the top, glueing the streamers under it, using a wonderful silver color wire edge ribbon from the estate sale box. White silk poinsettia flowers were added to each side. In keeping with the clean and simple theme, I stopped there.

Wreath Winter White 5

Hanging it up, it will remain through the winter.

January White 32

One other thing I did was paint some pine cones.  These aren’t as easy to paint as you’d think.  I began with a white primer paint spraying them from the top.

Pine Cone Project 1

Then I realized that most of the pine cone you see is the underside of the petals.  So, turning them on their sides, I sprayed the undersides of the petals.

Pine Cone Project 4

I’ll be using these in a tablescape coming soon.

Pine Cone Project 3

Back outside this morning, it is obvious that we won’t be going anywhere for a while. The forecast was for 3-5 inches, but this looks like more than that.

January Snow Saturday Dawn

This was near dawn this morning, I love the winter wonderland. Good thing I stocked the pantry last week!  We are expecting a bit more snow this morning too!  There are massive power outages in the area, we are not affected.  We have a whole house generator in case it does go out so I can still sew and do some cooking.  I am going to post this while we have the internet just in case.  It was 20 degrees when I took these pictures.

January Snow Saturday Dawn 2

Being snowed in means I can get some sewing done! I have Scrap Dance Waltz loaded and I’ll share that soon as it did present a challenge.  Wild Card Weekend means lots of football on the schedule for the next two days! Maybe I can get some hand work started too.

Do you have any projects going for January?



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